The hallmark of Trumpism is a strong and repeated commitment to any lie that can help its cause. It used to be embarrassing for a president to be caught in a lie. That seems a long time ago. The new, well-worn norm is that as long as he didn’t lie under oath (and only a sucker would place himself in a “perjury trap” by agreeing to tell the truth if it didn’t benefit him) — fuck off and get over it, loser.
Impeachment managers today continue to try to convince 34% of a committed block of GOP obstructionists, as well as the American people, that a president who lies for months to inflame rage and finally incites a violent insurrection to overturn an election must be held accountable. The pundits all seem to agree that this is an exercise for the history books, for the midterm elections and possibly beyond. The smart money says that 17 Republicans, in the name of healing and looking forward, will not break ranks to convict their fearsome leader of wrongdoing.
Consider the Republicans’ united embrace of Trump’s right to any reality he chooses. It was seen in the weeks before their leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect. After the election McConnell soberly told the country that Mr. Trump has every right to do everything he thinks best to make sure that Biden didn’t win by cheating. It was seen as an act of betrayal for any Republican to acknowledge the fair counting of the ballots and the bipartisan certification of the vote in all 50 states.
Fast forward to after all the federal and state lawsuits contesting the election were dismissed, after all legal avenues to contesting an election Trump lost by 7,000,000 votes were closed. January 2, four days before the final certification of the votes by Congress:
From the Joint Statement of Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lankford, Daines, Kennedy, Blackburn, Braun, Senators-Elect Lummis, Marshall, Hagerty, Tuberville (note that Hawley, first among them to announce his intention to contest the certification, is not on this list):
“The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.”
This appears to be the cunningly worded work of clever lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk Lyin’ Ted Cruz. Note the key word “allegations”. We’re not saying that there was unprecedented voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities, we’re not saying there wasn’t — we’re just stating the indisputable truth that tens of millions of Americans honestly believe these things, these arguably unproven, allegedly baseless, allegations. .
The rest of the statement is peppered with suggestive lies. Although, admittedly, the “breadth and scope” of voter fraud is disputed (and virtually none was found by Trump’s Commission on Voter Fraud before it disbanded, nor by any of the many courts that dismissed Trump’s/RNC’s evidence-free claims of fraud), “by any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.“
Widespread public belief in these “allegations”, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with a constantly repeated presidential lie about massive fraud or the $50,000,000 in advertising to convince people the election was stolen from Mr. Trump. In fact, Mr. Trump, in his speech on January 6, expressly and strongly denied spending a single dollar on any ads promoting this falsehood, to wit:
I did no advertising. I did nothing. You do have some groups that are big supporters. I want to thank that. Amy and everybody. We have some incredible supporters. Incredible. But we didn’t do anything. This just happened. Two months ago, we had a massive crowd come down to Washington. I said what are they there for? Sir, they’re there for you. We had nothing to do with it.
“Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.” writes Cruz.
Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence of serious election fraud, had any existed. I love the lawyerly shot they take at the apparent betrayal of justice by the anti-Trump Supreme Court in refusing, twice, to even hear a case that could have thrown the election to Mr. Trump. The AG of Texas had every goddamned right to contest fake, anti-Trump votes in other states!
The above group of senators, now jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial, voted to contest the final, largely ceremonial, certification of Joe Biden as the president, even after the rioters ransacked the Capitol. As is their right, of course, based on evidence, suspicion or political expediency, it is not our place to question their motives, or their ability to be impartial jurors now.
After Trump was impeached on January 13th, Mitch McConnell seemed to unequivocally condemn him and the lies that had stoked the rage that led to the deadly attack on the Capitol, which he said Trump and other leaders provoked:
Then, because he’d refused to reconvene the Senate during the remainder of Trump’s term so that the article of impeachment could be delivered to the Senate and a trial scheduled during Trump’s remaining time in office, the tricky, “transactional” McConnell voted with 44 other Trump-supporting senators that the impeachment was now unconstitutional, since, after Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Trump was indisputably a private citizen and could no longer be removed from office. (Talk about unclean flippers, Mitch, you slimy bastard).
Trump’s defense team in the unconstitutional impeachment made an outstanding point in their answer to the charges, after observing:
“The 45th President of the United States performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people.”
Indeed, Mr. Trump watched the riot unfold on live TV, tweeting a reminder to the rioters, during their attack, that Mike Pence lacked courage (hang the traitor!), then an hour or two later, tweeted a video telling them that he knew their pain, that the election had been stolen, that he loved them, that they were special. All admirable and in the best interests of the American people. No other president would have behaved any differently, if he truly thought his actions were in the best interests of the American people (ask Alan Dershowitz!).
They then came to the heart of the matter about Trump’s hundreds of arguably false and inflammatory statements about a rigged and stolen election:
“Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false.”
See? There simply is no evidence — plus, a very strong denial! Therefore, he can’t be lying — and, even if he is, he strongly DENIES IT .
And on and on with the “I know you are, but what am I? you’ll never get 17 votes, losers, nyah, nyah!” defense.
It may be that under the RICO investigation the DOJ is planning to conduct into the organization and planning of the riot at the Capitol, some of the jurors who will soon vote to acquit Mr. Trump, along with some of the majority of House Republicans who voted to contest the election and against impeachment, will be investigated and indicted for their seemingly key roles in fomenting the insurrection.
It may be that, whatever their involvement or culpability, Trump patriots Hawley, Cruz, Tuberville, Graham, McCarthy, Brooks, Taylor Greene and co. will get a pass. After all, ladies and gentlemen, this is the United States of America, the greatest democracy Jesus ever personally blessed.
“The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.
“Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.
“And those allegations are not believed just by one individual candidate. Instead, they are widespread. Reuters/Ipsos polling, tragically, shows that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.’ That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).
“Some Members of Congress disagree with that assessment, as do many members of the media.
“But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations.
“Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.